Whip It

Whip It

Infobox Single
Name = Whip It

Artist = Devo
from Album = Freedom of Choice
B-side = "Snowball", "Turn Around"
Genre = Synthpop
Format = 7", CD
Label = Warner Brothers
Length = 2:37
Released = 1980
Writer = Gerald Casale, Mark Mothersbaugh
Producer = Robert Margouleff
Last single = "Girl U Want" (1980)
This single = "Whip It" (1980)
Next single = "Gates of Steel" (1980)
"Whip It" is the title of a 1980 single by the Synthpop band Devo. It appears on the album "Freedom of Choice". There were two 7" single releases of "Whip It", one backed with a remix of the track "Snowball" (which appears on "Freedom of Choice") and one backed with "Turn Around" (a song later covered by Nirvana). "Whip It" was Devo's biggest hit, and peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and at #3 in Canada in 1980.

The song

"Whip It" is built on a motorik beat, similar to tracks by Neu!. The lead instrument is a Minimoog synthesizer. The bass is performed with a custom synthesizer made by Moog Music for Devo, known as the Devobox, and is built from two Minimoogs. The whip sound was made with an EML ElectroComp 500 synthesizer. On an episode of the VH1 show TrueSpin, Gerald V. Casale revealed that the lead guitar riff from "Whip It" is based on the riff from "Oh, Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison with the beat moved to the back.

The lyrics were written by Mark Mothersbaugh in a style similar to Thomas Pynchon's poems in "Gravity's Rainbow" and mock upbeat, self-help poems. The lyrics evoke a working class desire to pull oneself up and to overcome adversity. The song has violent undertones, and Devo has often described it as about Jimmy Carter, as Mothersbaugh describes in an interview on To The Best of our Knowledge [http://www.wpr.org/book/061015b.html] . However, many people took the lyrics at face value, interpreting the song as a paean to masturbation and sadomasochism, or a reference to inhaling nitrous oxide from whipped cream cans (taken from the name "whip-it", used to describe the nitrous chargers for whipped cream dispensers).

"Whip It" debuted at a live concert on December 29th, 1979 in Santa Cruz, California. The first performance included a synthesizer solo taken from the early Devo song "Chango." This performance was recorded and is available as a bootleg. A demo version was recorded in 1980 and later released in 2000 on the compilation Recombo DNA released by Rhino Handmade.

The video

Devo funded the music video for "Whip It" with $15,000 USD of their own money. The main visual of the video, Mark Mothersbaugh whipping the clothes off a woman (Annerose Bücklers), was inspired by an article in a 1962 issue of "Dude" magazine. In an interview for Song Facts, Casale explains "There was a feature article on a guy who had been an actor and fell on hard times, he wasn't getting parts anymore. He moved with his wife to Arizona, opened a dude ranch and charged people money to come hang out at the ranch. Every day at noon in the corral, for entertainment, he'd whip his wife's clothes off with a 12-foot bullwhip. She sewed the costumes and put them together with Velcro. The story was in the magazine about how good he was and how he never hurt her. We had such a big laugh about it, we said, 'OK, that's the basis for the video. We'll have these cowboys drinking beer and cheering Mark on as he's in the barnyard whipping this pioneer woman's clothes off while the band plays in the corral.'"

In the video, Devo wears black, sleeveless turtlenecks, and their famous Energy Dome headgear. When the video begins, all the members, except for Mark Mothersbaugh, wear the turtlenecks pulled over their faces. During the performance, each member lowers the turtleneck. Robert Casale (Bob 2) plays a red Rheem Key Bass, and Alan Myers plays a set of Synare electronic drum pads.

Unsurprisingly, the S&M overtones of the video caused controversy. Devo was forced to abandon a television appearance after the host deemed the video offensive to womenFact|date=February 2008. Despite this, "Whip It" received heavy rotation on MTV and Channel (V).

Alternate versions

Devo recorded an instrumental "E-Z Listening" version of "Whip It" as part of a set of music be played before concerts. These appear on the 1987 CD E-Z Listening Disc, released by Rykodisc. The E-Z version of "Whip It" is also played over the closing credits to the Devo home video "We're All Devo". An extended remix, known as the "Prime Cuts" mix was released on Cassette. In 1993, the collection featured a 9 minute remix of "Whip It" called the (HMS&M Mix). This remix uses samples from a movie version of H.M.S. Pinafore. There exists an instrumental Dub mix of this track as well on a 12" single. A remix by DJ 7Up has appeared on P2P networks. In 2004, the remix album What Is Hip? Remix Project Vol. 1 had yet another remix of "Whip It"

"Whip It" has been used in several commercials, for products such as Pringles, Twix, Gateway computers, and most recently Swiffer cloths. Due to the nature of Devo's contract with Warner Brothers, they do not own the rights to the original recording of "Whip It." Devo often re-records their songs for use in advertising, and for the Swiffer ad, the band also agreed to change the lyrics as well. One example of the changes is the line "You must whip it" which was replaced by "You need Swiffer." In 2007, "Whip it" was used in a series of Taco bell commercials.

Another version also appeared on the video game Donkey Konga. However, this version was not performed by Devo but rather by another band signed by Nintendo or Namco.

"Whip It" was again covered in season 1 of the sci-fi Sliders in the episode The King Is Back by the female country group the "Del Rubio Sisters".

The song was parodied in the 1999 movie "", when Doctor Evil tries to silence his son, Scott Evil, by saying (among other things) "When a problem comes along, you must ZIP IT! Zip it real good."

In 2005, the song was covered by the Devo- and Disney-sponsored band Devo 2.0. The group is composed of five pre-teen actors who sing, dance, and mime playing instruments along. The instrumentals are performed by the original Devo members. They have attempted to remove some of the adult innuendo from the song and its [http://disney.go.com/disneyrecords/Song-Albums/devo20/ music video] .

Australian band Operator Please has covered the song as part of their live set in recent years, to great acclaim.

English band Does It Offend You, Yeah? have also covered the song live, and a recording is featured on the NME Awards 2008 Souvenir CD

In the media

A * denotes a cover version being used for that occurrence.
*Used in an early 1980s promo re-recorded by Devo in the Los Angeles KMET (FM) studios: "Crank that dial . . . to the Mighty Met!"
*Played in a mid-1990s commercial for Twix candy bars.
*Played in the 1995 crime film "Casino" as backing music.
*Covered in the 1995 sci fi series Sliders in the series 1 episode "The King Is Back (Sliders)".
*Played in the 2003 movie "Dumb and Dumberer".*
*Played in the 2004 movie "Raising Helen".
*Playable in the 2004 video game "Donkey Konga".*
*Played in the 2005 Swiffer Commercial, but with lyric alterations from "You Must Whip It" to "You Need Swiffer."
*The song, as well as the music video, is featured on Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX 3 released in 2005.
*Played in a 2006 commercial for the VH1 music video channel. The song is played without vocals and sounds like an early home computer with a one-voice audio chip. The video for the song appears on a monochrome 1980s-vintage monitor and appears to be rendered with aalib.
*The 2006 Game Boy Advance release of Final Fantasy V features a weapon called the whip, whose item description is "Best used when problems come along," a reference to a lyric from the song.
*In a 2007 Jeep commercial, a clip of the music video for "Whip It" is shown with an 80's era Jeep is driving in the background.
*Played in the 2007 series pilot of The Riches
* "The Simpsons": Smithers is head of the "Waylon Smithers Dancers" on "The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour." He performs a slightly-altered version of Devo's "Whip It" (referring to a "Liquorice Whip") while wearing a pair of very revealing chaps. In a later episode, Homer sings "When you have a rib-eye steak, You must floss it", while flossing his teeth.
*The opening "Crack that whip!" lyric and sound effect is played at the end of a 2007 Taco Bell commercial.
* The Ultimate Bumblebee toy from the "Transformers" movie toy line plays a sample of "Whip It."
* "Beavis and Butt-Head": The title characters watch the video, giving it a positive review.
* "Los Prisioneros" made a Spanish cover of Whip It called "Azota" (Whip It in Spanish).
* The song was parodied in an episode of Brand Spanking New Doug by the AV Nerds, who were dressed in similar costumes as the band in the original video.
* An Identical guitar riff was used in an episode of All Grown Up!, a show which Mark Mothersbaugh had contributed music to.
* The Yogman Twins from Whatever Happened to Robot Jones? also dress in a similar fashion to the band in the video.
* A fast-tempo version of "Whip It" was heard in a two-part episode of The Fairly Oddparents.
* On the cartoon website, Homestar Runner, one of the characters, Strong Sad, is dressed as a Devo member as seen in the video as his Halloween costume in 2005. He quotes the song, as though waxing philosophical.

External links

* [http://www.badcofilms.com/video/cas_vidpages/cas_devo.htm The original music video for "Whip It"]

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